Right. So. It's Ye Olde 3.5 Edition D&D. Eberron. The players are Snakeheart, who was in the Traveller game and the LotFP game as well as a few other random things I've run over the past couple of years, Munchkin, for whom the LotFP game was her first introduction to D&D, and Dangerfox, who'd played a session of Vampire: the Masquerade before this but is otherwise new to RPGs. (The names are not internet handles or blog names. This is honestly what I call these people. Their real names are boring, so I improved them.)
Munchkin is running Mirithia, a halfling druid ("You insulted my dinosaur!"), Snakeheart is running Waywocket, a gnome bard ("Break his legs!") and Dangerfox is running a warforged fighter whom the other two currently refer to as "Mr. Huggable," although they've gone through a handful of other options already and are pretty sure that won't be the one they settle on ("I'm going to start developing a personality now.").
We've had two sessions and they've both gone pretty well. I'm not sure yet whether I'm going to achieve my aims in this exercise. I'm not, honestly, even sure there's going to be another session. We've missed the last couple of weekends due to spring break and musicals and just life in general, but we're at a good place to pick it up next weekend and I'm hoping we'll get at least a few more sessions in before the end of the semester.
My reasons for deciding to go back and run this system that I've sworn off for so long -- I've threatened to sell my books on more than one occasion, as I possess a number entirely unreasonable -- are fairly simple. For whatever reason, the games I've been trying to run over the past few years haven't worked. They have been, in places, fun, but they've too often been too intensely frustrating for me to justify my continued participation in the activity. I didn't want to just quit, so I thought -- I'll go back and run the game the way I remember doing when it was fun. The old school method, if you will.
Frustration with roleplaying is, incidentally, a big part of why this blog's been unusually quiet lately. There have been a couple of times in the past six months or so when I have very nearly sworn off the hobby entirely. I haven't been having fun with running games, and I've been getting involved with other activities -- board games, anime, actually being a player for once, and just lately even a bit of Magic: The Gathering. Add in that I've finally discovered how to have a social life that doesn't entirely revolve around D&D, the job finding and school finishing business of senior year, and a few life-related odds and ends, and yeah, quiet.
Still. At one point I really enjoyed running games, and if at all possible I'd like to enjoy it again. And if I am going to end up quitting, I'd like to be dang sure that the whole thing really doesn't work for me any more, and not just that what I've been doing lately hasn't been quite right.
I have a few hypotheses for why the old ways worked for me and the new ones (which are in fact the old ones) haven't, some relevant to this game, some not. I'm pretty sure that part of it was simply that 3.5e, in high school, was the game that everyone knew, intimately, past the point of needing translation. That's obviously not the case now, with a batch full of new players, but this campaign is beginning to bear out the usefulness of other, more translatable points of style. Among other things, I like having a handful of race class combos to hang characters on, it's handy every so often to be able to drop a combat encounter on the gang to give me some time to think, and the skill system is a decent safety net when I'm not quite sure how to respond to what the players want to try.
A lot of it, though, is simply the nostalgia of the thing. I miss these books. The 3.5e tomes, the silly looking, wannabe-spell books whose covers clearly aren't nearly as cool as something with actual art on them, are D&D to me. I'd missed that, and while it's not the same as it was, I'm glad to have something like it back for a bit.
Good for you, Odyssey! The only relevant thing is that you are drawn to whatever extrapolation of the game you're actually running, and if the chunky modular splat-magic of 3.5 is cosy for you then, why the hell not?ReplyDelete
I certainly relate to your frustrations- I periodically throw huge amounts of energy into gaming projects that I feel excited about, using systems that interest me and which I admire, and then, at the table, it just feels, hmmm... hollow? Unsatisfying? Traveller was the last game I ran like that- I'm a massive fan, I know and love the system, I'd been waiting for AGES to find some players who wanted to play it, then I had the opportunity, went through the motions, and it was sub-par and disappointing. The DM magic failed to impress. Oh well. Go figure. I resolved my frustration by being determined not to take it to heart. Other games at other times might work out better...
Anyway, hope it all works out for you. If it doesn't, a break can be a good thing sometimes anyway. :)
There's no shame in running the game you like (no matter what others may suggest, in jest, "jest" or otherwise). My Pathfinder books perch next to all the rest of my most-read rpgs -- you'll get no criticism from me about returning to 3x.ReplyDelete
Hope you have a blast :D
If this is what you want to play, play it. I doubt there will be that much difference in what we see on here. X log with Y content using Z edition (not system of course, but that's not what you're changing) looks pretty much the same as C log with similar-to-Y-content using D system.ReplyDelete
Also, where can I find the death and dismemberment table? I've seen it mentioned on S&D, and you've rolled on it 10 times, but I can't seem to locate it.
Just so you know much of the Majestic Wilderlands was developed using GURPS which I started using as my main system around 1988. Old School is not dependent on Old School rules.ReplyDelete
So have a blast with 3.5e
Good choice going back to 3.5, or as I call it, "the masterpiece edition".ReplyDelete
I've played extensively in all editions of D&D (except 4E which I only read the PHB) and I feel 3.5 is the one that got the most stuff the most right.
I find it very interesting that she's going through a process similar to what many of us in the OSR experienced: the new hawtness was not making the magic, so we went back to the games we were playing when we were having fun and started again.ReplyDelete
Like most of us in the OSR, I think Oddysey won't play 3.x the same way she did back then (she's been talking about cool tweaks like linking advancement to treasure, for instance). While I'm playing the same game I started with, back in '81, I'm certainly not playing it in the same way now. You go back to where things were working, and this time choose a different path.
C'nor: Also, where can I find the death and dismemberment table? I've seen it mentioned on S&D, and you've rolled on it 10 times, but I can't seem to locate it.
I believe she's using this one. We've talked a lot offline about how to adjudicate some of the results, like broken bones.
You are young, and RPGs are just one chapter in your life. In my final years of college I dropped RPGs in favor of (theater) acting...then I moved on to "partying like a rock star"...then onto new age-yness and veganism...then onto marriage and world traveling...and now back to role-playing (after many years). You are allowed to have other friends and other interests...and personally I think being a well-rounded person is a better advertisement for the hobby of "role-playing" (an activity that I think is cool and worthy of promotion), then being nothing but a "gamer."ReplyDelete
Jeez...take some time off. I'm sure you'll remember "how to play" when you feel like coming back to it!
> While I'm playing the same game I started with, back in '81, I'm certainly not playing it in the same way now.ReplyDelete
Hear Hear. I gues "old school" is relative, but fun is the final test of all things!
(The names are not internet handles or blog names. This is honestly what I call these people. Their real names are boring, so I improved them.):ReplyDelete
:-D. I almost snorted a burger reading that!
'I've finally discovered how to have a social life that doesn't entirely revolve around D&D':
That's cool. Of course, someday you'll look back on all that RPGing with fond memories. It beat some alternatives, I'm sure. Oh wait, it's starting already: "I'd missed that, and while it's not the same as it was, I'm glad to have something like it back for a bit." :-) More varied interests(and friends to share them with!) is always good, imo. Boardgames, huh? I'm getting in more myself. Dungeoncrawlers, mostly. Go figure!
'At one point I really enjoyed running games, and if at all possible I'd like to enjoy it again.':
It helps not to beat yourself up about supposed(and quite possibly imagined!) inadequacies, I've found. If the players have fun, it goes a long way toward me enjoying it as well. I'm sure you'll work the kinks out!(Especially if you're fine-tuning the rules for smoother play.)
I feel this as well. I love running games, but I've been going through a phase of wanting to just be a player -- and do other things as well. Between two jobs, grad school, teaching, and conferences, it can be tough to maintain that feeling.ReplyDelete
Good luck with the 3.5 game though -- I hope you get the love back. I have a life outside of gaming, but my life is still better because of gaming.
DR EMU YOU ARE REALLY GREAT. I WILL KEEP COMING TO YOU WHEN EVER I NEED YOUR HELP.ReplyDelete
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